Written by Angela Muniz
With a now-established wine and craft beer scene, Arizona’s distilleries and their small batch spirits are becoming the state’s next wave of innovative and artisanal beverages. Tempe is home to three distilleries all within three miles of each other. It makes for an easy day of spirit-hopping and their mix of tasting rooms, tours and craft cocktails provide an intoxicating perspective on this emerging industry.
2215 E. Fifth St., Tempe | 480-292-8770
A stop at Adventurous Stills lives up to its name. Started by a trio of friends who enjoyed spending time outdoors, they brought that same sense of discovery to spirit making. Not ones to take the path more traveled, they crowd-sourced funding for the endeavor and then hand-built their still and distilling equipment. The Adventurous team started producing in 2015 and opened the tasting room in an industrial area of Tempe two years later. Its portfolio of gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and bourbon are named for popular Arizona hiking destinations. In addition to their own line, they also offer a “Taste of Arizona” flight with other locally produced spirits. The tasting room is open Thursdays to Saturdays. Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays every hour.
CaskWerks Distilling Co.
1920 E. University Dr., Tempe | 480-427-2825
Good things come from small batches at CaskWerks Distilling Co. Producing since 2015, the team behind the distilling focuses on gin, vodka and a unique apple pie liqueur. Their liqueurs are made from scratch without artificial ingredients or “quick flavorings.” Instead, patience and an interest in experimenting with local ingredients helps them create elixirs that are like “dessert in a bottle.” CaskWerks opened its tasting room in 2018 and it has allowed them to extend their creativity to cocktails. Try the Bitter Sweet Tea Limeade with their tea gin, rhubarb and raspberry syrup, lime and tonic. Or the White Russian made with CaskWerks vodka and fresh brewed coffee from local roaster Piexoto Coffee Roasters. CaskWerks is open Thursdays to Sundays. In addition to spirits tastings and cocktails, they have a small snack menu and a rotation of food trucks.
Arizona Distilling Co.
601 W. University Dr., Tempe | 602-391-3889
The team behind Arizona Distilling Co. has been producing spirits since 2013 and now boasts an award-winning portfolio that includes gin, vodka and Copper City Bourbon, Arizona’s first legally made whiskey since the prohibition. Whiskey lovers should also try the Desert Durum Wheat, made from Arizona grains.The distillery moved to larger digs in 2018 and now includes a tasting room and lounge nicknamed the “Old Walrus.” It’s a nod to Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt, whose portrait hangs over the bar where, in addition to spirit flights, there are cocktails crafted by bartender partner Micah Olsen and a new bites menu. Open Wednesday to Sunday, tours and tastings are offered on Saturdays and should be scheduled 24 hours in advance.